The Black China Caucus (BCC) is a collaborative effort that strives to enhance the presences and participation of Black experts specializing in any aspect aiding in the comprehensive understanding of China. The mission of the BCC is accomplished by the active promotion of Black China specialists as well as the creation of targeted resources aimed at enhancing the professional development and advancement of Black practitioners in the China space.
The China field continues to exclude the participation from Black China specialists. Representation matters and Black under-representation in the China field is a problem. Black perspectives in the China field are intrinsically valuable. A comprehensive understanding of China will always be inadequate and riddled with blind spots if Black people are excluded from the conversation. Black China Caucus is an organization empowering and amplifying Black voices in this field.
The Black China Caucus (BCC) aims to promote an accessible and inclusive community of Black China specialists who are empowered to contribute their perspectives, add complexity of thought, and use their positionality to de-stigmatize discourse on race within China related disciplines and industries. The values of collaboration, empathy, and inclusivity will aid the BCC in this endeavor.
The BCC is designed to be a resource hub for professionals who self-identify as Black and are involved in any professional or extracurricular endeavor that contributes to their understanding of China.
The BCC employs a global view of Blackness that incorporates people throughout the Black diaspora, regardless of citizenship or national origin. The BCC is an affirming community that commits to the inclusion for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and/or presentations, disability statuses, or backgrounds. The BCC also welcomes professionals at all stages in their career, but has a focus on resources targeting the early- to mid-level range. While striving to identify and amplify Black China specialists, the BCC welcomes the engagement of all those who are in support of its mission and want to take action.
Who We Are
Mark Akpaninyie | Co-Founder
Mark Akpaninyie is a researcher focusing on China's Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese investment and soft power abroad, and China-Africa relations. He previously worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as a research assistant in the Simon Chair in Political Economy and Reconnecting Asia Project. He previously was the Research and Special Assistant for the late Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski at CSIS and a researcher with the CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies. Before joining CSIS, he lived in China for over three years, serving as a Fellow with Teach For China and then a lecturer at Baoshan University.
Mark is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a member of the National Association for Black Engagement with Asia, a co-director of Young China Watchers DC, and a Young Leader with Pacific Forum. He graduated with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.
Keisha A. Brown | Co-Founder
Keisha Brown is an assistant professor of history at Tennessee State University in the Department of History, Political Science, Geography, and Africana Studies. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, earned her doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was a 2018–2019 postdoctoral fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University. Dr. Brown is an Asian studies scholar with a regional focus on East Asia specializing in modern Chinese history.
Her research and teaching interests include comparative East Asian histories, postcolonial theory, transnational studies, world history, and race and ethnic studies. Dr. Brown’s research examines networks of difference in China used to understand the Black foreign other through an investigation of the social and political context that African Americans navigated and negotiated during their time in Maoist China. Her publication, Blackness in Exile: W.E.B. Du Bois’ Role in the Formation of Representations of Blackness as Conceptualized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), analyzes W.E.B. Du Bois’ performativity of race in China. Dr. Brown is currently extending her research on Sino-African American transnational relations to examine ideas of race and ethnicity and Afro-Asian diasporic connections, as evidenced by her blog post, “Teaching China through Black History” (Harvard University Fairbank Center), and essay, “Bridging the Gap: Blackness and Sino-African Relations” (International Institute for Asian Studies).
Mycal Ford | COO
Mycal Ford is an open source analyst whose focus areas include international illicit finance and tools of economic statecraft. Previously, he worked at the Department of Defense, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, the Hudson Institute, and Sayari Labs, a Washington DC-based tech startup, where he used publicly available information to investigate individuals and companies engaged in international sanctions evasion, narcotics trafficking, WMD proliferation, money laundering, fraud, and various other forms of transnational crime.
In December 2018, Mycal was named as a Black American National Security Next Generation Leader by the Diversity in National Security Network for his contributions to U.S. national security. In September 2017, he served as a U.S. delegate to the first-ever U.S.-China Social Cultural Dialogue, where he discussed the changing diplomatic landscape in the twenty-first century, its impact on the US-China relationship, and the importance of overcoming preconceived notions in the relationship.
Mycal earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the School of International Service at American University and a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Studies and Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University. During his studies, he received the Department of Defense David L. Boren Fellowship (China) and both the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (China) and Fulbright (Taiwan). During his Fulbright, Ford used Hip-Hop dance to facilitate conversations around racial diversity in the United States to young Taiwanese students.
Mycal simultaneously holds the position of Co-Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Boren Forum. He is also a Young Leader with Pacific Forum and a member of the Critical Language Scholarship Alumni Society.
Black China Caucus Directory
This directory aims to identify and amplify Black China professionals so that our voices can be heard. The intent of this survey is to use the responses to create a public directory. As there is growing awareness of the importance of diversity, this public directory will enable more Black China professionals to more easily be invited and included on panels and conferences, contacted by the media, sought out for professional opportunities, and recognized for their insight. This list is inclusive as all those who self-identify as Black are welcome to submit their information.
Please feel free to complete this form and/or share it with any Black China professionals in your network.